con·​no·​ta·​tion | \ ˌkä-nə-ˈtā-shən How to pronounce connotation (audio) \

Definition of connotation

1a : something suggested by a word or thing : implication the connotations of comfort that surrounded that old chair
b : the suggesting of a meaning by a word apart from the thing it explicitly names or describes
2 : the signification of something … that abuse of logic which consists in moving counters about as if they were known entities with a fixed connotation.— William Ralph Inge
3 : an essential property or group of properties of a thing named by a term in logic — compare denotation

Other Words from connotation

connotational \ ˌkä-​nə-​ˈtā-​shnəl How to pronounce connotation (audio) , -​shə-​nᵊl \ adjective

What’s the difference between connotation and denotation ?

Connotation and denotation are easily confused, and the fact that neither word is particularly common in everyday use makes it difficult for many people to get a firm grip on the difference between them. While each of these two words has several possible meanings, they are notably distinct from each other in all senses. Denotation is concerned with explicit meaning, and connotation tends to be concerned with implicit meaning. The word home, for instance, has a denotation of “the place (such as a house or apartment) where a person lives,” but it may additionally have many connotations (such as “warmth,” “security,” or “childhood”) for some people.

Examples of connotation in a Sentence

Miuccia Prada, a connoisseur of vintage jewelry, has a collection of tiaras and subverts their formal connotations by wearing them for the day. — Hamish Bowles, Vogue, March 1997 Suddenly, Hsun-ching brightened. "So this is propaganda?" Alison did not know that, in Chinese, the word for propaganda literally means to spread information, and does not carry any negative connotations. — Mark Salzman, The Laughing Sutra, 1991 The word "evolution," with its connotation of unrolling, of progressive development, was not favored by Darwin; he preferred the bleak phrase "descent with modification" for his theory. — John Updike, New Yorker, 30 Dec. 1985 a word with negative connotations For many people, the word “fat” has negative connotations. The word “childlike” has connotations of innocence. See More
Recent Examples on the Web This just makes sense to me, and has absolutely no political connotation to it. Ben Baldanza, Forbes, 1 May 2022 That stands to be the only connotation of the phrase going forward, because Game 163 isn't going to happen under the new format. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 18 Apr. 2022 Although the play’s characters examine every connotation of its provocative one-word-title, its vivid ride comes explicitly from its emotions, ideas and language — but never its action. David Benedict, Variety, 16 Mar. 2022 And despite the diversity of the lyrics and the artists, Evans said the genre still carries the same violent connotation in the media and for law enforcement. Deena Zaru, ABC News, 11 Feb. 2022 Mood lighting, which often carries a connotation around creating a romantic environment, can also impact purchasing decisions. Expert Panel®, Forbes, 5 Nov. 2021 There’s a negative connotation with flexible working, especially for those who have caring responsibilities. Caitlin Harrington, Wired, 13 Feb. 2022 But now, trips to the Southwest have had more of a 'getaway' connotation. Travel + Leisure, 8 Feb. 2022 School lunch has a negative connotation, Gomez said. Priscilla Totiyapungprasert,, 26 Dec. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'connotation.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of connotation

1532, in the meaning defined at sense 1b

History and Etymology for connotation

see connote

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Time Traveler for connotation

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The first known use of connotation was in 1532

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Last Updated

9 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Connotation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2022.

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